Turkey: Transgender people fight for recognition and representation

Transgender people from more conservative Muslim countries such as Syria and Iraq are moving to a flourishing LGBT community in Istanbul, Turkey’s most cosmopolitan and liberal city, to live. Yet LGBT people still struggle to fit into mainstream Turkish society. Transgender people are often assaulted in the street, even killed by their own family members. LGBT have trouble finding jobs. Most enter into the sex trade, lacking any other employment opportunities. 

This year Deva Ozenen, a transgender woman, is running for parliament for the first time, one of only four openly LGBT candidates seeking national office. 

The transgender community in Turkey, Sechil says, hopes that if it is represented in parliament it might have a better chance of gaining quicker approval for gender reassignment surgeries. It’s possible to get the operation in the country, but as the law stands now, Turkish citizens can legally undergo gender reassignment operations only if preceded by sterilization. Read More